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Do Shih Tzus Snore: Why, Is It Normal, and When to Worry

As our Shih Tzu readership grows here at The Puppy Mag, we start receiving many unique questions from concerned owners about Shih Tzus and sleeping.

One in particular is whether or not Shih Tzus snore, why they do, whether it’s normal, and if owners should be concerned about it.

Due to how often we receive this question I decided to ask our resident vet, and create this guide to answer it once and for all.

Below is everything you need to know about Shih Tzus and snoring. Let’s get into it!

shih tzu snore

Are Shih Tzus a Breed Known to Snore?

Yes, Shih Tzus are indeed a breed known to snore.

Their brachycephalic nature makes them more prone to snoring than other dog breeds. The short and broad skull of Shih Tzus, along with their unique facial structure, contributes to their propensity for snoring.

Common Breeds That Snore

Shih Tzus are not the only brachycephalic breed known to snore. Other breeds with similar facial structures also experience snoring due to their anatomy. Some of these breeds include:

  • Pugs
  • Bulldogs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Pekingese
  • Boxers

3 Key Reasons Why Shih Tzus Snore

Let’s run through the main 3 reasons why Shih Tzus snore. Keep in mind, for your Shih Tzu it could be one or a combination of these things.

➡️ Brachycephalic Breed

Shih Tzus are a brachycephalic breed, which means they have a short and broad skull. This characteristic often leads to smaller airways and more difficulty breathing, especially when sleeping. The main causes of snoring in Shih Tzus are:

  • Short nasal passages
  • Narrow nostrils
  • Elongated soft palate

These factors combined can cause Shih Tzus to snore. The sound is produced when the air they breathe creates vibrations in their respiratory structures.

➡️ Sleeping Position

Another reason why Shih Tzus snore is their sleeping position. Just like humans, the position in which a dog sleeps can impact their snoring. Shih Tzus that sleep on their back are more likely to snore because their tongue and soft palate may partially block their airways.

➡️ Obesity

Obesity can also contribute to snoring in Shih Tzus. Extra weight can cause fatty tissue to accumulate around their airways, making it harder for them to breathe and increasing the likelihood of snoring.

  • Keep your Shih Tzu at a healthy weight
  • Feed them a balanced diet
  • Ensure they get regular exercise

Is It Normal for Shih Tzus to Snore?

Yes, it’s normal for Shih Tzus to snore. Due to their brachycephalic nature, these adorable pups are more prone to snoring than other breeds. In most cases, their snoring is harmless and simply a result of their unique anatomy.

When It’s Not a Problem

As long as your Shih Tzu is in good health and their snoring isn’t causing them any discomfort or distress, there’s usually no need to worry. Snoring can even be a sign that your Shih Tzu is relaxed and sleeping deeply. Some things to keep in mind include:

  • Snoring can be normal for brachycephalic breeds
  • It’s generally not a problem if your Shih Tzu seems comfortable and is in good health
  • If their snoring is consistent and doesn’t worsen, it’s usually not a cause for concern

When to Consult a Veterinarian

If your Shih Tzu’s snoring suddenly worsens, becomes more frequent, or is accompanied by other symptoms like coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, it’s time to consult a veterinarian.

These symptoms could indicate a more serious issue, such as an upper respiratory infection or a collapsing trachea. The American Kennel Club provides more information on how to recognize signs of respiratory distress in dogs.

When to Worry About Your Shih Tzu’s Snoring

Though snoring is often normal for Shih Tzus, there are certain situations in which it could be a cause for concern. Here are some signs that it’s time to worry about your Shih Tzu’s snoring:

Increased Snoring Frequency or Intensity

If your Shih Tzu’s snoring becomes louder or more frequent, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Keep an eye on their sleeping habits and take note of any changes.

Other Symptoms Present

If your Shih Tzu’s snoring is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to consult your veterinarian. These symptoms may include:

  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty exercising

Changes in Behavior or Energy Levels

A change in your Shih Tzu’s behavior or energy levels could be a red flag that something is wrong. If your dog seems lethargic, disinterested in their usual activities, or more irritable than usual, it’s a good idea to have them checked out by a vet.

Trouble Sleeping

If your Shih Tzu is having difficulty sleeping or appears restless, it could be a sign that their snoring is causing them discomfort or disrupting their sleep. A veterinarian can help determine the cause of the issue and recommend appropriate treatment.

Tips for Reducing Snoring in Shih Tzus

There are several things you can do to help reduce your Shih Tzu’s snoring and improve their quality of sleep. Here are a few suggestions:

Adjust Their Sleeping Position

Encourage your Shih Tzu to sleep on their side or in a more elevated position. You can use a specially designed dog bed or pillow to help keep their head and neck slightly elevated, which may reduce snoring.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

As mentioned earlier, obesity can contribute to snoring in Shih Tzus. Keep your pup at a healthy weight by feeding them a balanced diet and ensuring they get regular exercise.

Keep the Air Clean

Smoke, dust, and other allergens can irritate your Shih Tzu’s airways, potentially worsening their snoring. Keep the air in your home clean by vacuuming regularly, using an air purifier, and avoiding smoking indoors.

Consider a Humidifier

Dry air can also exacerbate snoring. Using a humidifier in the room where your Shih Tzu sleeps can help keep their airways moist and reduce snoring.

Consult Your Veterinarian

If your Shih Tzu’s snoring is causing concern, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian. They can help determine the cause of the issue and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Last thoughts

In conclusion, while snoring is normal for Shih Tzus due to their brachycephalic nature, it’s important to keep an eye on their overall health and behavior.

Always consult your veterinarian if you notice any changes or have concerns about your Shih Tzu’s snoring.

For more information on Shih Tzus and their unique characteristics, check out this helpful article from PetMD: Shih Tzu Breed Information. Remember, a happy, healthy Shih Tzu is a joy to have as part of your family!


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.